Secure ID

New rules are in place that affect what you need to bring to your local DMV when applying for or renewing your driver license or identification card. The Delaware DMV is offering federally compliant driver licenses and identification cards, and you need to find out what documents you need to COLLECT and BRING with you so you can SECURE your new driver license or identification card. We want to make your experience at the DMV as positive and seamless as possible, and your preparation will aid in that goal.

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On July 1, 2010, the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) began offering secure driver licenses and identification cards to our customers. On your next visit to the Delaware DMV, you can expect to see several changes to our driver license and identification card issuance process.
This means that what you need to bring with you when applying for or renewing your driver license or identification card has changed. Please take a moment to review the procedures and find out what documents you will need to COLLECT and BRING with you so you can SECURE your new driver license or identification card.

New Federal Identification Standards



The 9-11 Commission, which was formed following terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, issued several recommendations and requirements that were aimed at improving our nation's security. One powerful and challenging requirement was the development of federal identification standards for states to follow when issuing driver licenses and identification cards. These identification standards are intended to combat terrorism, identity theft, and other crimes by strengthening the integrity and security of state-issued identification documents

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  • Certain information and security features that must be incorporated into each card
  • Source documentation must be provided for proof of identity, lawful status in the U.S., date of birth, social security number, and primary residence address (compliant DL/ID acceptable documentation list)
  • Source documentation provided by an applicant must be verified
  • Security and privacy of personal information collected when applying for a driver license or identification card must remain a top priority

What is the Delaware DMV doing?


Delaware DMV's processes comply with federal identification standards. We:

Have Reversed our customer flow to allow for the driver license or identification card photo to be taken right at the beginning of the issuance process.

Have updated the look and security of our driver licenses and identification cards to make them extremely difficult to replicate.

Are comparing all driver license and identification card photos to our facial recognition database to ensure customers standing in front of us are who they say they are.

Are producing and issuing our driver licenses and identification cards from a highly secure card production room.


Our process gives the Delaware DMV the ability to offer our customers federally compliant driver licenses and identification cards, and our customer flow is streamlined due to a reduction in the number of lines customers have to wait in.

A big change for Delaware residents is the one-time revalidation of all source documentation used for obtaining a driver license or identification card. For existing driver license or identification card holders, you will be presenting original source documents at the time of renewal like you did the first time you obtained your driver license or identification card. Again, this is a one-time revalidation; the only time the DMV will need to see your source documents again is if you decide to change any of the information on your driver license or identification card, such as a name change, or if your immigration documents expire. All new applicants will already be required to show this documentation, so for them it will be business as usual. Below you will find a complete list of acceptable source documentation.

Some existing customers may not want or be able to bring these documents. If you are unable to produce these documents, you may obtain a non-compliant driver license or identification card. A compliant driver license or identification card is distinguishable by the gold star in the upper right corner, and a non-compliant card is distinguishable by the phrase "Not for Federal Identification" printed in the upper margin.



"...you will be able to use your driver license or identification card for domestic flights, entering federal facilities, and other official federal purposes."

DMV has made these process changes to comply with federal identification standards. By complying with these standards, in addition to driving authority and identification, you will be able to use your driver license or identification card for domestic flights, entering federal facilities, and other official federal purposes. Without obtaining a federally compliant driver license or identification card you will be required to obtain a U.S. passport to do these things and obtaining a passport would be more time consuming and expensive for you.



Important Note: Delaware DMV has been offering federally compliant driver licenses and identification cards since July 1, 2010. If you renewed your driver license or identification card before that date, it will be valid for official federal purposes until December 1, 2014. There is no need to visit a DMV office before your normal renewal date to get a compliant card.


A Fresh, Secure New Look





What Documentation Do I Need to Get My Compliant Driver License?



The source documents required to prove identity, lawful status, date of birth, and social security number for a compliant driver license or identification card are documents the DMV already requires. In order to obtain a federally compliant driver license or identification card, first time Delaware applicants and existing Delaware applicants should expect to provide original source documents as proof of identity and legal presence in the United States, social security number, and Delaware residence. For existing driver license or identification card holders you will be presenting original source documents at the time of renewal like you did the first time you obtained your driver license or identification card. This one-time revalidation of your source documents will enable the DMV to ensure your identity. By planning ahead and coming prepared to the Division of Motor Vehicles, your compliant driver license or identification card request will be handled more efficiently

Review the list below to find out what documentation you'll need to COLLECT and BRING with you so you can SECURE your new driver license or identification card. Please note that all documents presented MUST be original or certified copies. Photocopies and non-certified documents will NOT be accepted.

Document Guide for Driver Licenses and ID Cards

This guide will assist you in determining which documents you will need to collect and bring to the DMV to secure your identification when applying for a Delaware driver license, learner permit, commercial driver license (CDL) or ID card.
For further information, please call 877.477.7117.

You will need to provide all original documents, or certified copies, to prove the following:

Proof of Identity / Legal Presence:

Examples of acceptable source documentation:
Please provide ONE of the following proof of identity/legal presence documents:
(This document must contain proof of full legal name, date of birth, and citizenship/legal presence in the United States to be eligible to obtain a federally compliant identification document.)
  • Certificate of birth (U.S. issued). Must be original or certified copy, have a raised seal and be issued by the Office of Vital Statistics or State Board of Health. Please note that wallet cards, birth registration or hospital announcements/records are not accepted. (If under 18, birth certificate must include birth parent(s) names)
  • Consular report of birth abroad
  • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N570m or N-578)
  • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560, N-561, or N-645)
  • Northern Marina Card (I-551)
  • American Indian Card (I-551)
  • U.S. Citizen Identification Card (I-179 or I-197)
  • Valid passport, U.S. If foreign, appropriate INS document also is required
  • Resident Alien Card (I-515, I-551, AR-3, or AR-103)
  • Temporary Resident Identification Card (K-688)
  • Non-Resident Alien Canadian Border Crossing Card (I-185 or I-586)
  • Record of Arrival and Departure (in a valid Foreign Passport)(I-94 or I-94W visa waiver program)
  • Record of Arrival and Departure w/attached photo stamped "Temporary Proof of Lawful Permanent Resident"(I-94)
  • Processed for I-551 stamp (in a valid Foreign Passport)
  • Permanent Resident Re-Entry Permit (I-327)
  • Refugee Travel Document (I-571)
  • Employment Authorization Card (I-688A, I-688B, I-766)
  • Canadian Immigration Record and Visa or Record of Landing (IMM 1000)
  • Federally Compliant State issued photo driver license *
  • Federally Compliant State/Province/Territory issued photo ID card *
  • Court order. Must contain full name, date of birth and court seal. Examples include: adoption document, name change document, gender document, etc. Does not include abstract of criminal or civil conviction * **
  • State issued photo driver license * **
  • State/Province/Territory issued photo ID card * **
  • Certified microfilm/copy of driver license or ID card * **
  • Official letter issued by vital statistics verifying full name and date of birth * **
  • Certified school records or transcripts verifying full name and date of birth * **
  • Note: If applicant is under 18, a document containing parent(s) or legal guardian(s) name(s) must be presented (such as a birth certificate or court document).
* Must be accompanied by a U.S. citizenship document or valid proof of legal presence in the United States.
** Not acceptable documentation to be eligible for a federally compliant identification document; however, applicants may be eligible for a non-compliant identification document.

Find out how to contact Vital Statistics for all U.S. States and Territories


Proof of Social Security Number:

Proof of Delaware residency:

Proof of Immigration Status:

Proof of Name Change:

All documents presented to the DMV must be original or Certified copies. Photocopies will not be accepted. All documents will be verified by an electronic verification system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When did Delaware's new driver license and identification (DL/ID) card process go into effect?

A: Delaware began issuing federally compliant DL/ID cards on July 1, 2010. In order to do so, we incorporated the following changes into our issuance process:

  • Reversed our customer flow to allow for the driver license or identification card photo to be taken right at the beginning of the issuance process.
  • Updated the look and security of our driver licenses and identification cards to make them extremely difficult to replicate.
  • Compare all driver license and identification card photos to our facial recognition database to ensure the person standing in front of us is who he/she says he/she is.
  • Produce and issue our driver licenses and identification cards from a highly secure card production room.
Q. Many states refuse to comply with federal identification standards. Why is the Delaware DMV making all these changes to comply?

A:By complying with these standards in addition to driving authority and identification, you will be able to use your driver license or identification card for domestic flights, entering federal facilities, and other official federal purposes. Without obtaining a federally compliant driver license or identification card you will be required to obtain a U.S. passport to do these things and obtaining a passport is more time consuming and expensive for you.

Q. What do I have to do to obtain a compliant driver license or identification card?

A: For existing driver license or identification card holders you will be presenting original source documents at the time of renewal like you did the first time you obtained your driver license or identification card. Again, this is a one-time revalidation; the only time the DMV will need to see your source documents again is if you decide to change any of the information on your driver license or identification card such as a name change or if your immigration documents expire. All new applicants will already be required to show this documentation, so for them it will be business as usual. See the acceptable documentation list for complete details.

Q. What documents are needed to get a compliant driver license or identification card?

A: Documents that prove your identity (i.e. name and date of birth), lawful status in the U.S., social security number, and residential address will be required. See the acceptable documentation list for complete details.

Q. If I have had several name changes due to marriage and divorce, may I still get a compliant driver license or identification card?

A: Yes; however, your name must be the same on all source documentation (exception: the name on your birth certificate should never change). The main point to remember is that if your name is different than what is presented on your passport or birth certificate, you must show how it changed. All documents such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order must be originals or certified copies.

Q. Am I required to obtain a compliant driver license or identification card?

A: While we felt it was absolutely necessary to comply with federal identification standards, we also understand that some existing customers may not want or be able to bring the necessary source documentation for obtaining a compliant DL/ID card. For individuals in this situation, you may obtain a non-compliant driver license or identification card.

Q. Does a compliant DL/ID card look different that a non-compliant DL/ID card?

A: Yes, but not by much. The overall appearance is the same; however, a compliant DL/ID card is distinguishable by the gold star in the upper right hand corner of the DL/ID card, and a non-compliant card is distinguishable by the phrase "Not for Federal Identification" printed in the upper margin of the DL/ID card.

Q. Can I still drive with a non-compliant DL?

A:Yes, the "compliant/non-compliant" status is used solely for federal identification purposes, not driving authority.

Q. Is a compliant card more expensive than a non-compliant card?

A: No, compliant DL/ID cards will be the same price as non-compliant DL/ID cards. If during mid-cycle you decide to "upgrade" your DL/ID card from non-compliant to compliant, then you would pay a $10.00 duplicate fee, like you currently would.

Q. Will I still be able to get my DL/ID card the same day that I come to the DMV?

A: Yes, the Delaware DMV will remain an over-the-counter issuance (i.e. walk out the same day with a driver license or identification card) state. Many states changed from over-the-counter to a central issuance (i.e. your DL/ID card will be mailed to you in a few days) in order to comply with federal identification standards. Delaware received over a million dollars in federal grants in order to further secure our issuance facilities so that we may remain over-the-counter. One of the upgrades includes highly secure rooms for driver license and identification card production.

Q. Will I have to come into the office and get a compliant DL/ID card as soon as Delaware starts issuing them?

A: No, there is no advantage in obtaining a compliant DL/ID card early. A Delaware driver license or identification card issued prior to July 1, 2010, will be acceptable for domestic airline travel or any other federal purpose at least through December 1, 2014.

Q. Can I use my existing Delaware driver license or identification card to fly on an airplane or do I have to wait until I get a compliant DL/ID card?

A: A Delaware driver license or identification card will be acceptable for airline travel or any other federal purpose at least through December 1, 2014. The federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also accepts alternate documents for air travel such as passports, military IDs, etc. See TSA: ID Requirements for Airport Checkpoints.  This link opens in a new window

Q. What do I do if I can't find the information I need on the web site?

A:You can call 877.477.7117 for more information.



Federal Identification Standards Facts vs. Myths
Does not create a National Identification Card
In fact, driver licenses and identification cards (DLs/IDs) are issued by each state, not the federal government. The federal identification standards give states flexibility in issuing unique DLs/IDs based on states' own design concepts. All minimum data elements required by the federal law are already included on the Delaware's DLs/IDs.
Does not require a national database of personal information
In fact, federal identification standards do not grant the federal government or law enforcement greater access to DMV data, nor does it create a national database of personal information. Access to personal information maintained by the DMV is limited as described in the Delaware Driver Privacy Protection Act (Title 21 Del. C. § 305).
Does not contain an RFID chip
In fact, the federal identification standards do not require any form of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips. Delaware will not be putting an RFID chip in any card issued by the DMV.
Does not replace a U.S. passport
In fact, a U.S. passport will continue to be required for international travel. The U.S. Department of State's website provides a list of documents acceptable for international travel for air, land, and sea.
Does not control, restrict, or affect gun sales
In fact, the Real ID Act is specific to the issuance of DL/ID cards only. It does not prevent, control, or affect gun sales.

Video

The next time you visit the DMV, you will notice the changes that are taking shape in driver services. These changes not only give the DMV a new look, but they also further secure the issuance process enabling the DMV to offer you a federally compliant driver license or identification card. We have produced this informational video as a tool to guide you through our new process. Our changes will affect what documents you will need to COLLECT and BRING with you so you can SECURE your new federally compliant driver license or identification card. We want to make your experience at the DMV as positive and seamless as possible, and your preparation will aid in that goal.
Enjoy the video!

Rosanna Mena, of DMV Driver Services discuss Secure ID in Spanish MT